Skip to Content

'Profoundly personal'

5 April 2004

'I don't keep books unless I have to: meaning I keep only those books I know I'll want for the rest of my life. The rest I callously sell on. I am not a writer because I love reading. Writers quite often make poor readers and book keepers... A writer reads in the way that a butcher eats restaurant sausages - with professional understanding, but also with the hope and fear of being outdone....

'Asked to choose a powerful reading experience, it isn't poetry that readers will generally recall, but that ether moment of immersion in a novel; of looking up to find that hours have passed, that everyone has left and the sun has gone down. This is one of the great strengths of the novel: the profoundly personal, private way it can immunise us to our surroundings.'

Tobias Hill, author of The Cryptographer, writing in The Times about the power of reading.